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Old 12-17-08, 12:55 AM   #1
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Project Neo-Retro

My apologies for posting this in Foo, but due to the nature...it didn't seem to fit anywhere else.

This October I had the good fortune to come across a Litespeed titanium frame...in a dumpster at the 24 Hours of Moab.

Before you doubt me, the frame was there because it was broken. A teammate had pulled it out and was in the process of throwing it back in the dumpster when I stopped him. I figured at worst the titanium tubing would be useful to a welder friend of mine.

Once home I showed him the prize, what turned out to be an early 2000's Pisgah, and he recommended I have Ron Andrews of King Cage fame look it over. Ron welded it up for a paltry sum and did a great job, but considering how badly broken it was, I didn't feel comfortable building it up for the serious off-road riding it was originally designed for.






Other than shabby decals it appeared to be in fine shape. Upon close inspection there is a good ding in the downtube, most likely the source of the break...possibly involving a broken fork.



I figured at best I could use it as a rust-proof townie bike and started going through my parts stash to see what I had to build it up with. The first issue was measuring the integrated headset and ordering it in. In the meantime I got after those decals with a Dremel nylon wheel that removed them without any damage to the frame, then polished it with a Scotchbrite pad as per Ron's instruction.







Unfortunately the Pisgah's headset is a semi-rare size and choices were slim, but once a new Cane Creek IS-2 arrived I was able to do a mock install of the fork: a 1997 New Old Stock Girvin Crosslink Elite I'd purchased a number of years ago for a chopper bike project that never came together.





I weighed the Crosslink just for grins and it surprised me with an even 4 lbs. As an early competitor to RockShox, Girvin produced a very nice fork, but due to the girder design found limits with travel effecting wheelbase. In any case, it's a new unused fork and figured that at least it could get some use. It was even nicer to find that Risse racing still produces an upgrade air shock for it that knocks off 1/2 lb and adds adjustability over the stock Noleen NR-1. I filed that info for further reference and moved on to ordering some parts.

After stripping the decals the frame seemed to lend itself to white parts. Last year a lot of relatively cheap parts for DH and All Mountain usage came on the market, this next season there will be even more. I thought that would look cool, so I ordered some up and just today mocked them up on the Pisgah.





The parts are Truvativ, a Hussefelt bar and an AKA stem. After installing, almost immediately...something seemed wrong. The theme that came out after installing the Girvin fork was to make a bike that at a distance has the looks and simplicity of a late 90's vintage bike, but upon closer inspection has all the function of a newer bike. The white bars seem to ruin that look. I was beginning to regret the decision to apply white parts...

For you (fellow) parts geeks, the list is as follows:
  • Deore crankset w/outboard bearings, 22/32/44 in silver
  • Ultegra long cage derailleur, silver
  • Acera front derailleur, silver
  • Dura-Ace barcon shifters, 9-speed
  • Paul's Thumbies, black (though they could be polished)
  • HG80 cassette, 11-32
  • Deore linear brakes and levers, silver
  • Schwalbe Fat Frank 26X2.3 tires, brown
  • Lizard Skins NorthShore grips, brown
  • Deore wheelset with Sun Rhynolite rims, SS spokes, all silver
  • Saddle TBD
  • Seatpost TBD
  • Chain and cables from shop stock
I was planning to get a Control Tech seatpost in white and a tan saddle, but things change...

What I'm looking for now is input. The fork just doesn't go with the bars. I was thinking that if I did stick with the white theme, the fork legs could be painted white without too much trouble. The fork linkages could either be left black or polished...or some combination. After seeing the bars on the bike, I'm also leaning toward going with a more period-correct-looking flat silver bar and stem, then polishing the fork legs. I could always use the white bars and stem on another project...or even sell them in the shop.

If the bike worked out to be off-road worthy and relatively lightweight, I'd pop for the Risse shock upgrade and some MTB tires. I already have a nice American Classic seatpost and a light tan saddle that would go nicely. But, if this is to be a townie...all that matters is style.

Input please.
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Old 12-17-08, 12:57 AM   #2
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She's gonna look hawt.
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Old 12-17-08, 01:00 AM   #3
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She's gonna look hawt.
Yeah...but how?
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Old 12-17-08, 01:02 AM   #4
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Yeah...but how?
Oh cripes, man! Those are too many words for me to read.

Edit: Need some overall pics with the current setup. it's a little too difficult for me to visualize the overall project.
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Old 12-17-08, 01:04 AM   #5
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Oh cripes, man! Those are too many words for me to read.
OK, then look at the pictures and tell me what you think would look good. I do respect your opinion bro...I've seen your bikes.
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Old 12-17-08, 01:06 AM   #6
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If you can't lock that fork to keep it from eating up all your energy, I'd pitch it and get something else. I can't say what because I have no idea what would fit.
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Old 12-17-08, 01:06 AM   #7
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I like the idea of painting the fork legs. Maybe finding some OEM stickers, or use some cool, fun stickers. I like the white and tan themed ti bike.
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Old 12-17-08, 01:10 AM   #8
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Is the right chain stay the same shape as the left? Can't tell for sure from the picture. I'm having Hetchins flashbacks, and I'm no Hetchins fan.
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Old 12-17-08, 01:11 AM   #9
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If you can't lock that fork to keep it from eating up all your energy, I'd pitch it and get something else. I can't say what because I have no idea what would fit.
One of the Girvin Crosslink's traits is that it is very stiff and rides a bit high.

As for "robbing me of efficiency"...pffft. It's a townie. It just has to be comfy. If I want performance, there's always the Risse upgrade option.
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Old 12-17-08, 01:14 AM   #10
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I love those Girvins. They have a really cool old-school look to them.
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Old 12-17-08, 01:16 AM   #11
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Is the right chain stay the same shape as the left? Can't tell for sure from the picture. I'm having Hetchins flashbacks, and I'm no Hetchins fan.
Yeah, it's symmetrical.

I'll take some overall and macro pics tomorrow. I'm still amazed. Litespeed makes a very detailed and beautiful frame, perfect for a bike geek like me.

If I can be accused of anything it's "cheaping out" on the components worthy of a frame like this in order to get it rideable as soon as possible.
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Old 12-17-08, 01:27 AM   #12
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One of the Girvin Crosslink's traits is that it is very stiff and rides a bit high.

As for "robbing me of efficiency"...pffft. It's a townie. It just has to be comfy. If I want performance, there's always the Risse upgrade option.
In that case, look for a silver stem and bar, or a black stem and silver bar. You'll be the envy of Lake Forest Circle.
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Old 12-17-08, 01:54 AM   #13
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In that case, look for a silver stem and bar, or a black stem and silver bar. You'll be the envy of Lake Forest Circle.
Not sure what that means, but as I've learned in life...it's better to take everything as a compliment.
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Old 12-17-08, 10:05 AM   #14
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Here's a few more pics taken outside.









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Old 12-17-08, 03:39 PM   #15
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Man, that fork looks like it'll take some serious tires.
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Old 12-17-08, 06:35 PM   #16
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Man, that fork looks like it'll take some serious tires.
Funny you should mention that...

I got the wheelset, cranks, shifters and adapters in today.







Although there's plenty of width for the 2.3" tire, the girder design lacks in height. If you bottom this fork too hard with too large a tire...it hits the underside of the crown.

I've been doing some searching and may go vintage with this one. There's some cool stuff out there from the same era as this frame that would really define the period. I'll be visiting family in Albuquerque this weekend...I'll see if I can get a shop or two to let me scrounge in their bins.
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Old 12-17-08, 06:39 PM   #17
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Not sure what that means, but as I've learned in life...it's better to take everything as a compliment.
That's the road that runs by some of the single family houses out behind your shop. I didn't recall seeing snow there though. What happened?
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Old 12-17-08, 06:39 PM   #18
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Fix it! Single speed off road hybrid Ti townie.


Also it needs a basket. Preferably woven stainless steel.


That thing is awesome.
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Old 12-17-08, 06:49 PM   #19
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The fork dropout position weirds me out some though. Seems it should be at the front end rather than the rear.
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Old 12-17-08, 07:35 PM   #20
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Although there's plenty of width for the 2.3" tire, the girder design lacks in height. If you bottom this fork too hard with too large a tire...it hits the underside of the crown.
Yike, sure would. That would be some unpleasantness, there. Front-wheel-lockup = ow.
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Old 12-17-08, 07:36 PM   #21
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The fork dropout position weirds me out some though. Seems it should be at the front end rather than the rear.
If my drawing is accurate, the thing barely has any trail to begin with. If the wheel were moved forward, it might even have negative trail.
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Old 12-17-08, 07:45 PM   #22
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If you were going for the early '90s look, I could advise you. But if it's late '90s I'm of no help.


Still, ControlTech stem and Answer Hyperlite bars. Maybe some Onza pedals and barends. Okay, I'm done.



Kooka! Grafton!


Seriously, done this time.
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Old 12-17-08, 07:50 PM   #23
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That's the road that runs by some of the single family houses out behind your shop. I didn't recall seeing snow there though. What happened?
Oh! I didn't realize you were referring to my neck of the woods.

Yeah, that's where the hoi polloi live. We ride past it on the way to our closest trails, about 2 miles from the shop.

We have a good storm coming through right now. Looks to give us several feet of white gold.

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Fix it! Single speed off road hybrid Ti townie.


Also it needs a basket. Preferably woven stainless steel.


That thing is awesome.
Naw, this bike is a replica of the era where the only singlespeeds being ridden were when you roached your derailleur and had to McGuyver to get home. I am looking into some sort of basket.

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The fork dropout position weirds me out some though. Seems it should be at the front end rather than the rear.
Yeah, that pretty much spells out the limitations of the girder design and why it went no further: To gain more travel you'd have to lengthen the wheelbase. These forks topped out around 3". Anything more and things start to get weird...like with the Look Fournales fork.

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Old 12-17-08, 07:58 PM   #24
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that bike needs Campagnolo Record OR parts.

barring that, some purple ano parts.
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Old 12-17-08, 08:04 PM   #25
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If you were going for the early '90s look, I could advise you. But if it's late '90s I'm of no help.


Still, ControlTech stem and Answer Hyperlite bars. Maybe some Onza pedals and barends. Okay, I'm done.



Kooka! Grafton!


Seriously, done this time.
I'll have to do some digging. Somewhere I have a set of Onza HO pedals....hopefully with cleats.
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